Trich and 2017 plans

I haven’t blogged in a long, long time. This is because I thought, I was maybe taking it a little too seriously. I only started to write a blog to help people I know as well as people I didn’t know, understand what it is to live with such a debilitating illness that takes over your every little piece of being. I began to write to help people who are in the same shoes, know they are not alone. I started this blog to get people to understand, whether they have trich or not that it is an impulsive control disorder and even if you try and stop, it’s like an itch and you can’t… until that feeling has ‘passed’. Yet most times, the feeling never passes. I had a saying that if one person was to read this blog I would be happy. Suddenly, I was looking at numbers daily and seeing the drop in how many people was reading it, sadly got me down. I realised then, I needed a break. I was also wondering if what I was writing, pouring my heart and soul into and writing very very personally was a little… too much? I’m still not sure if I write too much into the personal side and if I’m comfortable sharing this with the whole world.

Since my last post, Trich has not been kind to me. Due to other things happening in my life and trying to deal with them day by day, trich has decided now is the time to show its presence. Maybe it’s because I’m feeling pretty weak mentally as well as getting every other cold under the sun at this time and it likes to take advantage. I have had numerous nights and days recently where I’ve just sat there and been SO angry that I could come right back to what feels like the beginning, again. This isn’t just something that I’ve just started dealing with either, 2017 marks around the 15 year mark of dealing with this. FIFTEEN YEARS out of twenty three I’ve lived.

It’s so sad to say, but it all feels way too familiar. The round and round in a circle feeling of the highs and most definite lows. The days and nights I sit there and think, can I even do this again? Can I even look in the mirror and think… my oh my why and how have you done this to yourself, which then changes my thoughts to I can’t go out to enjoy myself because of the way my hair looks. Can I even deal with the thought of people thinking (even though I’m sure they don’t, this is trich being irrational) that they can see a decline in the length of my hair and maybe even notice the very obvious to me, bald patches. Can I really and truly do this again?

That’s when I need to stop them thoughts, as hard as it is. In 2017 I’m going to try, again my hardest not to let the negative dwell on me and turn them into positives. Of course there will be times where I sit there and I will be in that zone of pulling and nothing or no one can get me out of it. Then five minutes later, I’ve managed to snap off yet another big chunk of hair. These times I won’t be able to turn them into positives. There are no positives. It’s just shame. The feeling of being ashamed and letting those people down who have been cheerleading me on. With these thoughts I need to let them be, then move on.

This then requires me to look back to the most positive time in 2016. In June/July 2016 my hair was ALMOST the same length and every time I looked in the mirror I felt HAPPY. I felt pretty and I felt like I could rock trich and show it where to stick it. I felt like I had so very closely BEAT it. Even if my hair stayed like that for a couple of months, I cherished it and still do. I still think back to them moments and cannot wait to get to that stage of looking in the mirror and feeling the best feeling there is.

I am, however, very very nervous for 2017 and I’m nervous for how my hair looks like this time next year BUT even on my bad days, I’m still as determined as that little girl who was dreaming for that all one length hair, to get there. Just now, I have a little help from my friends and family which I didn’t have this time last year, as it was still my own little secret.

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We can do this together, right? I promise I’ll make you (who cares) proud… even if it is a journey getting there.

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Happy two years Southampton

Grab yourself a cuppa, this one is going to be long. Today marks exactly two years ago I made one of the biggest decisions and done the biggest thing I’ve ever done; move over 100 miles away from my family and friends. 100 miles away from home.

screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-19-51-46I still remember the run up to going away. I remember every time I went to go and visit my nan. She would have added an essential thing you needed to have when living on your own which I would never of thought of. You know things like medicine – of course you’ll need that at some point unless you’re supernatural and immune to all illnesses, if thats the case please give me your secret. My nan still does that to this day, tops me up with the stuff that I will need but may not already gone out to buy it or wouldn’t necessary bought with a food shop – thank you nan! I really appreciate it.

I also remember my going away meal. The meal where my family got together for a little goodbye to uni and I bought my good friend Shannon along. It was the weekend before I went and I remember then it kicking in that my family won’t just be down the road. That if I needed eggs to bake cakes I wasn’t able to just run to my nan and steal two eggs and instead have to go to the shop and grab six eggs and waste four because I don’t like eating eggs on their own.

However, it meant that I was about to start to gain my own independence and that was exciting. I was about to have all the freedom I possibly could have, not that I didn’t have that before but even more so now. It meant that I had to grow up, quickly. Hell did it smack me round the face as soon as I got there. Once I had grabbed my fob (I was staying in student halls first year, as many people do) and unloaded the car of way too much of my belongings into my room I’ll be living in for the next ten months, grabbed a food shop and saw my dad off which was hands down one of the worst times – ever, I headed back to my room and sat on my bed thinking, what now with tears down my face. Even now when I say bye I always cry, there’s something about your family leaving you down away that is just so so sad.

In my first year I’m not going to lie I got homesick a lot. To the point I wouldn’t leave my room and just lay in bed feeling sad. I missed the whole different lifestyle I had at home which I didn’t realise I had until I moved away. I would call any family member as many times as I could just to talk to them. I didn’t even meet the people I’m currently living now, who lived down my hallway until a few weeks in. Not every one has an experience like that but because I feel like I’m such a family girl, it hit me hard. Looking back on that to now I don’t get it nearly as much. I’ve finally got round to thinking in my head, I’m only a three hour train ride home, it’s not that bad. Besides, it’s so much nicer to go home and see my family after a long while, it feels more… special?

It’s no secret if you’ve read my blog before that I have a mental health illness which is triggered majorly by anxiety and depression. It was life changing moving away from home and battling with that. It’s made me more aware of how to look after myself more and it literally is just me here, to look after myself. If I’m sick and I don’t have medicine in, I have to go out and buy it and still make my dinner and get through the day. This is probably one of the biggest thing’s I’ve learnt. I have had an overwhelming amount of support for this, however. Last year, just after I had started my second year I went to seek help with dealing with anxiety and the way it was making me feel from the uni after advice. It helped me a lot. I’ve wrote about it in a blog post here.

All in all I have learnt a lot about myself. I have a stable job here now, I’ve been passing my university projects and now going into third year and I have my own little uni family. I know more than two people now, I know all the great coffee shops and take aways and I now have people down here who look out for me. I have no idea, how I’ve made it this far without going home… especially after them first few weeks, but I battled through it and still going now. It’s been an adventure for sure. I still haven’t left Southampton and gone anywhere else down the south coast, that is still on my list to do, as well as go the Isle of Wight.

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A massive special thank you to the family and friends who listen to my rants constantly. Who listen when I have something I’m finding difficult and just need to speak it out. Those who give the most invaluable advice and those who check up on me to see how I’m doing. Those who call me for hours and hours because I’m feeling alone and those who text me to make sure I’m OK. I appreciate it so much, so so much. Genuinely. If you have just moved to uni and feeling alone, down, don’t really know what to do.. please please do message me. I would so love to help you and give you tips.

I’m lucky now that I can call Southampton my second home and I’m proud of myself.

University – Top five tips

It’s already September – how? Although this does mean Autumn, i.e- cosy jumpers, drinking hot chocolate with lots of cream and marshmallows and not getting weird looks, PUMPKIN SPICED LATTES, cute over the knee socks – you get the idea. It also means for some people a stressful time of moving away from home to a whole new city, where they may not know anyone and it can be scary. I’m about to go into my third year at university and now quite used to the lifestyle that comes with moving away.

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(Photo credit: Instagram – positiveheadspace)

I have some of my top tips which I have learnt after moving away. It’s all so exciting moving away and I can tell you it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’ve gained so much independence and learnt life things which I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t move away.

I’ve piled some into a list for you here and I hope they help you in one way, or another:

– BUY EARPLUGS. Oh christ I wish I knew this before I moved to university. I didn’t use them in first year and just put up with the noise. Only recently have I bought some as next door have parties regularly and they are the best investment. You might not need them every night but it’s so good to have them there incase you do. They will become your best friend. 

–  If you can, get a group together to do a food shop and get it delivered to your halls/house. It’s so much easier than trailing across town with bags and bags of food. If you split the cost of delivery and pay your own share, its lifesaving. Seriously.

– If you’re moving into halls getting a lock for your cupboard stops people getting in your cupboard and stealing food. Although you can only control it in the fridge if you buy yourself a mini fridge for your room (I did, best £30 spent! Who doesn’t want milk in your room for a late night cuppa without leaving your room?) 

Keep on top of washing up. There is nothing more frustrating for other flatmates/housemates than someone in the kitchen who doesn’t clean their own plates up. There is also a hygiene issue with this too. Not ok. Just keep on top of everything in general. If you stick post-it notes over your room and it helps – do it. If you’re someone who like to keep a diary and write stuff down like me – buy one. It will help you so much and you will feel so much more productive. 

– If you are missing home or have other issues then please, please go and speak to someone within the university. There will be a student support centre within your uni who are there for you. It’s there job to look out for people. Don’t ever feel like you are being too silly or a burden  I did feel this before I went to talk to them and they’re so helpful. They offer services for all sorts of issues including money, homesickness and mental health to name a few. Best thing I done was talk to them. Honestly.

– Keep track of your assignments and work. It goes without saying really. I only decided to discover the library at the end of second year – yep. It is the perfect place for work to get peace and quiet. Sometimes your house/halls can be too loud to get some work done. Also, if you don’t do anything whilst there, it still feels productive because you’re at the library. If you struggle with writing/reading there will be people at the library who can help you too. Win/win.

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(Photo credit: Instagram – positiveheadspace)

Make sure you have the best time. Although at some points it may get too much just remember why and how you got there. You can do it. You will get through that ever ending to do list. You will get that assignment thats kept you up for months done and you will get used to being away from home.  Remember if you ever do have any issues, especially homesickness message me any time. You can do it and it will be the best years of your life, honestly!

Hairdressers are Trichy.

This post is one that I thought of, off the top of my head whilst walking to work. I wanted to write another Trichotillomania post. A post which gives whoever is reading this a sense of what it takes to be in a situation which is so easy and enjoyable for some yet not for others. I love getting pampered and I love getting my hair cut but I can tell you, it is one of the most stressful things to do whilst suffering with Trich.

I have touched on this in a post before, but 9/10 I go to the hairdressers in the first place to try and trick my mind into thinking that all the split ends which I endlessly search for and all the ‘hard’ feeling hairs have been cut out, and none remain. Before I go I really have to amp myself up. My own hair is much shorter at the sides compared to the rest of my hair from where I can snap them off. This gives me major self confidence issues as it is, let alone going to a place where they specifically look at your hair.

The usual conversation that goes whilst at the hairdressers is this: “The sides of your hair are very damaged, aren’t they?” which I then respond with the same old answer every time “I bleached my hair from red to blonde myself” This obviously would of damaged my hair a lot but… I did it around four years ago now. Surely all the sides of my hair would have grown back by now, in the eyes of the hairdresser.

I have to mentally prepare myself for the shame, especially now I see the same hair dresser every time for her to mention the broken off bits. I normally go in the hair dressers with my hair down – take it out before stepping in. Somehow this makes me think that if she sees my hair before like this, she won’t be shocked if I was to take it down and most of it is broken.

After the whole experience has happened, despite all the anxiety that goes with it waiting for my turn to go and trying my absolute hardest not to pull and if I did I would do it on the down low and hope no one sees, I feel good. It works for like a day to stop pulling but it also keeps my hair in good condition and helps it regrow. I normally go for shorter and if it is a bad time on the whole Trich front I usually cut my hair to a point which I can’t lift it up to look at, that way I won’t see if theres any split ends to pull – success. My goal however is to have my hair long, long long hair. I will get there one day.

I have researched into Trich friendly hairdressers and there are particular ones in America from old articles which say they are, yet I haven’t seen any in the UK yet. Maybe I’m just missing them but if you know of any in the UK I’d love to find out? I hope Trich gets so much more awareness in the future and all hair salons become Trich friendly.

I haven’t had my hair cut in around three months now, which isn’t long but my last experience wasn’t pleasant and I’ve sadly kind of been put it off. I need to get the courage and go. If you are nervous and scared as a Trich sufferer yourself and you don’t want to go alone, try and get a understanding friend to go with you.  I always see that as a massive help. You could always treat yourself for coffee and cake afterwards – a firm believer in ALL CELEBRATIONS OF VICTORY. Go you!!! Remember also, if you can’t, you are not alone. I’m always open for a chat. I believe you can do it.
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Photo: (instagram.com/mentalhealthdaily_)

Newest plans

Summer is here – finally and hasn’t it been a hot one these past few days. Although I think I’ve only spent a combined hour in the sun actually sitting in it this past week I’m loving it. The sweaty nights however, not so fun. Any how, during this time I have been making plans. Plans which can lead to big big things potentially in the future. If you know me or read my blog before you will know I love goals and setting targets to reach.

Around this time last year I spent my summer from uni learning how to do fashion illustrations properly. With properly I mean developing how to draw them/shading/colouring and learning both programs Photoshop and Illustrator. I had an Instagram account which I’ve now merged into my own blog/personal/graphics account where I posted solely illustrations I created everyday for two months. They usually were celebrities or influencers and sometimes got reposted by these people which gave my account more exposure. I had people message me asking to make graphics/illustrations for their blogs/personal use and I never felt ready. I just needed that little extra time before I was ready to do them.

Well… I’m now ready. I have to complete 100 hours of work placement this summer for me to be able to complete my degree, I know right.. pressure. I have already tried out an internship and felt it wasn’t for me. I have also applied for many and the ones I really want haven’t got back to me – I can’t wait to graduate and apply for junior graphic designer jobs. I am soooo ready. I feel like making illustrations for other people will not only possibly help me get these hours to complete the degree but it will also help gain more skills, as you know the saying practice makes perfect and all that.

I’ve decided for now I will only be doing digital illustrations until I magically come into more money as I don’t have the £’s this summer to make physical prints, but maybe that could be something to do in the future.

Here are a few of the recent illustrations I’ve done and I’d be happy to create ones to anyone who would like one at a small cost.

Please let me know if this is something you would be interested in happening and I’ll see if I can make it happen.

Tweet me at @charnicolelucas or you could always send me an email: charlottenlucas14@gmail.com where I’d be happy to discuss with you further!

 

Trich VS anxiety and goals

If you didn’t already know, one of the underlying issues of my Trichotillomania (Trich for short) is anxiety. I’ve suffered anxiety for as long as I can remember. I genuinely blame those people who shot down my confidence at school. They are the ones responsible for me barely having confidence at all. I work on this daily and it’s still an ongoing battle, but with good people and friends surrounding it makes it a whole lot easier.

I feel that every time I am anxious my arm automatically reaches up and thats it, just pulls.  I don’t even have to think about it. It automatically does it. Sometimes I don’t even notice I’m doing it either, until someone turns round and says. It’s a coping mechanism. It’s what helps, but whilst it helps with feeling anxious, its also destroying my self esteem at the same time. It’s literally the biggest circle to go round. There are bad days, where I couldn’t care about the half broken hairs/bald parts… but of course there are good days where I want to be able to feel ‘pretty’ and I feel like my hair holds me back from this.

I like to set myself realistic goals to achieve milestones with recovery. I remember my first goal was to admit to myself, there was a problem and to get help. Getting help was probably the most scariest/daunting time but once it was done I felt so much more relief. I’ve wrote a post on this here if you’d like to check it out. I’m not sure if that’s because there will be someone with professional help to help me or the fact that I took that leap. Every time I reach a goal stone (just as important as a milestone) I treat myself. Whether that be something that I’ve had my eye on for a while or a takeaway. Who doesn’t love a celebratory takeaway?

Here’s two goals that in the upcoming months I really, really… basically praying I will reach. These goals will help keep me focused towards positivity and will keep my mind on track. On track to achieve steps without falling backwards. If I do fall backwards, thats OK too… as long as I keep going along the positive path.

  • Pull free for one day. Hell lets make that half a day and if I get to a full day then that definitely means double celebratory.
  • Set up some sort of fundraising event for Trichotillomania. My goal about writing all these things down in a post is to make more awareness. I’d love to physically hold an event where I can raise money to a Trich charity.

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Instagram (@Mentalhealthdaily_) I adore this account!

What goals do you guys have and are working towards? I’d love to here them. You can do it!

June Round Up

We’ve reached the end of June already, how?? I could swear that the days are going faster, I sound like I’m past my age but.. its the truth! I set a bunch of goals to complete for the end of the month. These were:

  • Cut out additional sugars. I legit think I am addicted to sugar. I really really need to stop asap for my own health. It is becoming not ok and I’m well aware of it.
  • Go at least one day pull free. Just one day. This hasn’t happened in a while because I’ve been stressed and anxious about everything thats going on with the internship, getting something to pass the 100 hours and you know, general life stresses. I’ll be sure to update you all on my social media if this does happen, however – eek.
  • Get in contact with companies which I 100% want to get work experience with. Not just applying through panic and getting an internship I really don’t like again. That was not fun. I may do a blogpost on this soon about my experience with this internship and how to look for one which you love, if you’d be interested. Let me know.
  • Blog more. I’ve just recently started to share my experiences with mental health condition called Trichotillomania and the response/support I’ve received from it has been incredible. My blog posts about MH have been the ones which have been viewed/read the most and that makes me extremely happy and proud.
  • Get home and spend more time with my family. I’ve been home not even a week this year with university and I miss them home comforts so much. It is summer now and although I have to work overtime to pay the bills I must find some time just to take a break and re-coup at home. This also goes aside seeing my friends more often. I need to do this, need need need.

The additional sugars goal was completed in a week, I went home then ate sugar like it was the best thing ever and haven’t stopped since, sigh. 

I haven’t gone a day pull free all month and to be honest that makes me angry. Theres been 30 days this month and not one day did I stop pulling. It has however been a stressful month with getting results from uni, working loads and moving house. I hope one of these months to come I’ll be able to say at least one day I didn’t pull.

I have been in contact with companies I want to do internships and been offered some but with my financial state right now I couldn’t do it. I need to earn enough money for rent and bills first then go from there. It’s a hard cycle.

I’ve blogged at least once a week this month, sometimes maybe twice. That is an incredible achievement for me. I can’t wait to share some more fun times as well as more posts about Mental Health. I really enjoy writing about it knowing that people don’t feel alone anymore and raising awareness.

Finally, as I write this post I’m actually sat at home. With around 50 boxes of my own stuff surrounding me after moving out in Southampton earlier this week ready to sort out and move back down Monday for final year of uni in a different, much nicer house. I’m excited and quite nervous for last year. Lets hope I do myself proud.

Hope you all have a fab July and I shall see you all next month for more blogposts! Lets do this!